City working on flood preparedness

Several projects should help to minimize the damage from the next flood

Prague is making more preparations for flood control. Existing barriers are being repaired, and the overall protection is being extended not only along the Vltava but in other parts of the city.

An improved crisis communication system should be ready by the end of the year.

Currently, there is no immediate threat, and the preparations are meant for the long term.

Parts of the city were devastated by floods in 2002, when the city was caught largely unprepared. Floods in 2013 caused significantly less damage, in part due to lessons learned from the previous flood.

Flood barriers along the Vltava were originally built in the 1990s, and after the 2002 floods the city increased flood control measures. In total, around Kč 4.5 billion had been spent by 2012.

Mobile barriers and ramparts were built around the river. The mobile barriers extend about 20 kilometers and installation of different sections is practiced regularly.

The city is currently repairing the barriers for Malá Strana and Kampa at a cost of Kč 11.35 million, excluding VAT. The firm Green project succeeded in a tender at the end of 2018 to complete the work. Technical deficiencies were found in Říční Street around the Liechtenstein Palace to Charles Bridge and further to the bridge Mánesův most.

“These are important repairs and adjustments to flood control measures. From my point of view, in the open tender, very good offers were selected to ensure the quality of the work,” Prague Deputy Mayor Petr Hlubuček (United Force for Prague), responsible for environment and safety, said at the time.

Another project selected at the same time was for flood protection at Přední Kopanina, a suburb near Václav Havel Airport Prague. The firm Nowastav will take over the work with a bid price of Kč 17.4 million excluding VAT.

The stream Kopaninský potok will be revitalized to its nearly natural condition in order to weaken or prevent flooding in the developed areas in and around Přední Kopanina.

In March, the city announced further flood protection measures. “Soon the protection line will cover from Na Františku to Na Výtoni, and flood protection measures in the Troja Basin should arise in the future,” Hlubuček said.

Prague Zoo, which is in the Troja Basin, was badly damaged in the 2002 floods, resulting in the loss of animals who could not be moved in time. Since them the zoo has rebuilt and is planning future pavilions including ones for gorillas on higher ground.

The Prague City Council in April agreed to create an analysis of the basins around the Botič and Rokytka streams in an effort to improve flood protection there. Flash flooding around streams has also caused significant damage. Often this happens so quickly during heavy rains that there is no chance to use portable barriers.

The city has made flood plains and polders to retain water and adjusted to course of the streams so they can retain water for longer before it spills into the landscape.

Prague and the city districts are now working on a digital flood plan for Kč 19 million, most of which is covered by a European Union subsidy. The plan should be ready by the end of the year and should improve crisis communication.

Significant floods also took place in 1784, 1845, 1890, and in 1940. The one in 1890 collapsed the central part of Charles Bridge.

Markers can be found on some buildings in Kampa showing the levels of flood waters on the various years.

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